The majority of people with dementia develop behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) at some point during their illness (Jeste et al., 2008). These symptoms, which are especially common among care home residents, are frequently distressing for the patients who experience them (Gilley et al., 2006; Jeste et al., 2008) and problematic for their professional and/or family caregivers. The starting point for our paper “Quality of life for people with dementia living in residential and nursing home care: the impact of performance on activities of daily living, behavioral and psychological symptoms, language skills, and psychotropic drugs” (Ballard et al., 2001) was to try and understand the impact of BPSD, function and language skills on quality of life in care home residents with dementia. Although there were frequent statements in previous work referring to the capacity of psychiatric and behavioral symptoms to reduce quality of life, we had been unable to identify any empirical evidence to support this clinical impression in a thorough literature review. The parallel validation of Dementia Care Mapping (DCM), predominantly a practice development tool, as an observational measure of well-being/quality of life (Kitwood and Bredin, 1997; Fossey et al., 2002) provided an excellent opportunity to examine this issue in a care home setting. The study focused on 209 people with dementia living in residential and nursing home care in north-east England in the U.K., who received a detailed assessment of BPSD, function and cognition. A DCM evaluation was completed for 112 of these individuals, providing a detailed observational measure of well-being, activities and social withdrawal as indices of quality of life over a six-hour daytime period. To our surprise, there was actually no association between well-being, social withdrawal or activities and BPSD. In contrast, there was a significant association between antipsychotic medication and reduced well-being, social withdrawal and activities respectively, even after controlling for the severity of behavioral disturbance. Using an arbitrary definition of “ill-being”, defined as a well-being score of less than zero, 5% of people not taking antipsychotics, 10% of people taking atypical antipsychotics and 22% of people taking typical antipsychotics were defined as having ill-being. Lower levels of functional ability were also associated with significantly lower well-being, less activities and more social withdrawal. At first this latter finding appears to be contrary to one of the central principles of DCM – namely, that the assessment should be independent of dementia severity. Although high levels of well-being and engagement are possible for people with severe dementia, this probably requires higher staff numbers and a workforce with more specialized skills in order to achieve this.